One Itchy Thing: Cicadas Leave the Gift of Oak Mites

Image: Piotr Naskrecki, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The Brood X cicadas have risen and fallen, and their young won’t be back for another 17 years. But while birds were feasting on cicadas, oak leaf itch mites arrived to feed on the billions of cicada eggs laid across the Washington, DC region. Unfortunately, these mites have a nasty bite. Larger than a mosquito bite and as itchy as poison ivy, the bites have prompted victims to take to social media to discuss the ugly affliction facing the region.

Doctors say that, although annoying, bite victims have nothing to worry about and can treat the itch with antihistamines and cold compresses and avoid further bites by staying away from locations where the mites reside. “As poetic as it is to sit under an oak tree, this may not be the summer for that,” said Noëlle Sherber, a dermatologist in the District.

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